Saturday, September 18, 2010

"Who the heck are those scary nuns??"

I'm totally on board with The Town, especially since it seems to bear a thematic resemblance to Gone Baby Gone, which Ben Affleck also directed, and which I respected immensely.

But before I knew what The Town was about, I was totally on board with it being about something else entirely.

And it has everything to do with those crazy nuns on the posters. Or in my case, on the billboards.

It was pretty smart for the advertising campaign to latch on to an arresting image that Affleck was pretty smart to put into the movie in the first place, but the first few times I passed a billboard for The Town, that's all I saw: unholy (and I mean that in the secular sense) psycho-ward nuns whose mouths were opened in some kind of bird call of insanity. I would always just catch a flicker of the billboard, not long enough to see the machine guns by their sides, or the back of what was either an armored vehicle, or the getaway vehicle that had just disgorged them.

So for a short time I imagined that "the town" referred to some kind of isolated hamlet where everyone was crazy. The movie itself might belong to the realm of psychological horror or straight horror, and the images would be something out of a movie by Tarsem Singh (The Cell) or Stanley Kubrick. (For the record, Kubrick is not a perfect fit for what I'm going for here -- but I feel like these nuns could have been at home in either A Clockwork Orange or Eyes Wide Shut.)

Of course, The Town is actually about bank robbers in Charlestown, Massachusetts -- and "the town" is short for Charlestown. That's something I'd have known if I'd been aware of Affleck's involvement from the beginning, and suffice it to say that these billboards did not have the headshots of the actors you see above, which would have instantly removed it from my imaginary realm of fantasy terror.

It's possible I'll actually get to see this one in the theater. My mother is in town until next Friday, and it remains to be seen if my wife and I will take advantage of her babysitting skills to see one movie in the theater, or more than one. If it's only one, we're probably focusing on Catfish, which I might have written about today if I knew enough about it to have an angle to write about (and to be honest, I'm glad I don't, given the many surprises it is supposed to have in store). If we see more than one, then movies like Never Let Me Go and Easy A also become contenders alongside The Town. I may try to steer her toward one of those, because a friend of mine is also trying to put together an excursion to see The Town -- and the only reasons I wouldn't do that particularly outing are because a) I'd be derelict in my fathering duties or b) my wife has "claimed" it for us to see together.

But let's hope that big-screen viewing materializes one way or another. Because even if they're just Ben Affleck and Jeremy Renner in Halloween masks, those scary nuns will be even scarier at a height of 25 feet.


Daddy Geek Boy said...

I actually have had the opposite reaction. Saw the billboard and later heard about the movie. Having seen the trailer or images from the flick, the poster/billboard makes sense. But on it's own it does nothing for me and does not get me to want to see the movie. Especially when I'm seeing it pass at 60 mph.

Vancetastic said...

DGB, I agree that these nun costumes probably only have a very small role in the movie, and in that way, they're trying to make a somewhat unimportant bit of iconography from the movie stand for the entire thing. In that way it is sort of a gimmick. However, it worked for me.